BY DREW LACOUTURE
On their second full length album, Nero returns to the limelight of the Electronic Dance Music scene with a slightly darker sound that is sure to satisfy old and new fans of the genre. It has been four years since the United Kingdom’s three piece dominated the charts with their debut, and while not groundbreaking, their latest delivers for the most part.
This time around, singer Alana Watson takes center stage rather than just being a feature and continues to give humanity to Daniel Stephen’s and Joe Ray’s electronic production. Her vocals are mixed a lot better with the rest of the music compared to “Welcome Reality.”
Nero is a group that has always aimed for creating large, almost cinematic anthems. Unfortunately the album as a whole makes that concept hard to believe at times.
Obviously dance music is not known for conjuring brilliant lyrics, but those found on here lack diversity and do not resemble any theme to connect the tracks to each other. However, tracks like “Between Two Worlds” with its long build up to the musical climax, and “Into the Past” with its uses of strings and elements of trance music most certainly sound like they could be part of a science-fiction soundtrack.
For some, Nero’s corporation of dubstep might make their album sound dated (considering dubstep is not as popular today as it was in 2011), but their production on this album and Watson’s vocals make their style still fresh. The transitions, bass, synths, drums, all sound fantastic.
This is especially true on the banger “Satisfy” which definitely feels like it is meant to be played at a rave.
At the same time, after four years to grow, one might hope that they would take a couple more risks and experiment more, whether it be with song structure or lyrically. The group does not do a lot to separate themselves from other electronic artists.
“Tonight” and “It Comes and Goes” both sound like generic EDM songs that could have been created by any of the group’s contemporaries.
“Into The Night” gives off a similar impression, but its upbeat melodies make the song much more enjoyable. So what they produced sounds great, but a less safe approach would have made the album more impressive.
While there is not a whole lot to absorb content wise, there is replay value on the album. Many tracks are also catchy and interesting enough (“Circles,” “The Thrill” and “Dark Skies”) to come back to.
“Two Minds” is the most radio ready track and while some may see this as a bad thing, it is also the best on the album.
“Between II Worlds” is a decent follow-up. It still follows a lot of the rules of EDM music which might frustrate some listeners, but the album sonically is stellar and demands to be heard on good speakers/headphones.
Fans of the group and fans of maximized and dramatic dance music will surely enjoy it. The album does not hit the mark on creating the cinematic experience they seemed to be hoping for. What the album does accomplish is giving its listeners some well-produced jams to vibe to.
The Flyer gives “Between II Worlds” by Nero a 6/10.